The Afghan government and the Taliban are set to swap the first batch of their prisoners on Thursday, sources within the Afghan government said on Wednesday. A three-member delegation from the Taliban arrived in Kabul on Tuesday to discuss the issue of the Talibanís prisoners. This follows two meetings by video conference about the release. The move is expected to pave the way for the start of intra-Afghan talks.
Up to 100 Taliban prisoners will be swapped with 20 government forces, said the sources.
Meanwhile, the National Security Council of Afghanistan in a tweet said that a technical committee of the Peace Initial Contact Group (PICG) hosted a Taliban technical delegation in Kabul yesterday to "hold in-person discussion on matters related to prisoners release."
"A technical team from the Afghan government yesterday (Tuesday) hosted a Taliban delegation in Kabul and discussions were held on the issue of release of the prisoners and it was decided that talks should move on regarding the matter today as well. Officials from the ICRC were also present at the discussion," said Jawed Faisal, a spokesman for the National Security Advisor.
Sources close to the Taliban, speaking on condition of anonymity, named the Talibanís delegates in Kabul:
"The Taliban delegates are named Maulavi Abdul Fatah, Maulavi Ibrahim and Akhtar Mohammad, these Taliban delegates belong to the Talibanís committee on the prisoner release," said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban commander.
"The three-member delegation will prove helpful in addressing the issue of the prisoners," said Mohib Sharifi, a political analyst in Kabul.
This comes days after the Afghan government announced the formation of a 21-member peace negotiating team intended to undertake direct talks with the Taliban once the prisoners are released.
"The government has created the delegation based on article 60 of the parliamentary law. The house (parliament) will monitor the process. First, the government will conduct the talks and the parliament will decide on it once a document is signed," said Mir Rahman Rahmani, speaker of the parliament